When it comes to building strong and healthy bones, there are two key nutrients: calcium and vitamin D. Calcium supports your bones and teeth structure, while vitamin D improves calcium absorption and bone growth.
These nutrients are important early in life, but they may also help as you advance in age when the chances of developing osteoporosis – a disease characterized by brittle and breaking bones – are higher.
You can always get the necessary nutrients for healthy bones from these 9 foods:
Most people get their vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, but certain foods, like yogurt, are fortified with vitamin D. One cup of yogurt can be a creamy way to get your daily calcium intake. There are some varieties of fat-free plain yogurt that contain 30% of your calcium and 20% of your vitamin D for the day.
There’s a reason milk is the poster child for calcium. 50 grams of fat-free milk will cost you 90 calories, but provide you with 30% of your daily dose of calcium. Choose a brand fortified with vitamin D to get double the benefits. Can’t get three glasses a day? Try blending milk into a smoothie.
Just because cheese is full of calcium doesn’t mean you need to eat it in excess (packing on the weight won’t help your joints!). Just 10 grams of cheese contains more than 30% of your daily value of calcium, so enjoy in moderation.
These tiny fish, often found in cans, have surprisingly high levels of both vitamin D and calcium. Though they may look a bit odd, they have a savoury taste that can be delicious in pasta and salads.
Eggs only contain 6% of your daily vitamin D intake but they’re a quick and easy way to get it. Just don’t opt for egg whites — they may cut calories but the vitamin D is in the yolk.
Don’t eat dairy products? Spinach will be your new favourite way to get calcium. One cup of cooked spinach contains almost 25% of your daily calcium, plus fibre, iron, and vitamin A.
7. Fortified cereal
Certain cereals—like walnuts, and wheat—contain up to 25% of your daily vitamin D. When you don’t have time to get out in the sun, cereals can be a tasty way to get your vitamin D.
Tuna, another fatty fish, is a good source of vitamin D. 18 grams of canned tuna contains 154 IU, or about 39% of your daily dose of the sunshine vitamin. Try low-cal tuna as a way to sneak in vitamin D and calcium.
9. Orange juice
A glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice doesn’t have calcium or vitamin D, but the packs you buy off the counter are often fortified to contain these nutrients.
Also, studies have shown that the ascorbic acid in orange juice may help with calcium absorption, so you may be more likely to get the benefits of this fortified drink.